• Mass murderIs mass murder becoming a form of protest?

    By Lisa Wade

    If there’s one thing Americans can agree upon, it might be that people – no matter how angry they are – shouldn’t be indiscriminately firing guns into crowds. Yet mass shootings are on the rise, with the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport just the latest example. I’m fearful that what we’re seeing isn’t just an increase in violence, but the normalization of a habit, a new behavior recognized as a way to express an objection to the way things are. That is, I’m afraid that mass murder may be becoming – to the horror of almost all of us, but to the liking of a violent few – a form of protest. The terrifying part is that once protest tools become part of the repertoire, they are diffused across movements and throughout society. Perhaps that’s why we see such a range of motivations among these mass murderers. It has become an obvious way to express an objection, and the discontented know they can get their point across.

  • TerrorismFBI arrests wife of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen

    Noor Salman, the wife of Omar Mateen, the gunman who carried out the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history when he killed forty-nine people at an Orlando, Florida, night club, was arrested by the FBI in San Francisco. she is expected to face charges of aiding and abetting and obstruction of justice.

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  • CrimeDeadly thoughts of offenders may hold answer to reducing crime

    It’s a figure of speech many of us have likely said during an argument or frustrating situation without really meaning. For a small percentage of the population though, the phrase, “I could kill you,” is not so meaningless. Identifying criminal offenders with homicidal ideation – thoughts of committing deadly violence, regardless of action – could change how we sentence and treat some of the most serious offenders.

  • GunsGun violence research dramatically underfunded, understudied compared to other leading causes of death in U.S.

    More than 30,000 people die each year from gun violence in the U.S., a higher rate of death than any industrialized country in the world. Funding and publication of gun violence research are disproportionately low compared to other leading causes of death in the United States, according to new research.

  • Law enforcementBlack men nearly 3 times as likely to die due to police action

    A new study found that black males are nearly three times as likely to be killed by police  action as white males, while Hispanic males are more than one-and-a-half times as likely to fall victim. The study used national death records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiology Research (WONDER) database from 2010-2014. The study found that, of the 2,285 deaths attributed to law enforcement action over that five-year period (1.5 deaths per million in U.S. population per year), 96 percent occurred among males 10 years or older.

  • Berlin terror attackCalls in Germany for bolstering surveillance in wake of Berlin attack

    Klaus Bouillon, the interior minister in the German state of Saarland, said that “It is time to eliminate the barriers to monitoring suspects’ telephone conversations.” He also urged the revamping of a law for monitoring popular online encrypted messaging services, such as WhatsApp, and said that next month he would make a formal proposal to that effect. Bouillon, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said, “It cannot be the case that a company can make billions with WhatsApp, while at the same allowing criminals to organize, direct young people and obstruct our authorities by not providing the necessary encryption codes.”

  • Berlin terror attackBerlin attack: security intelligence has limits in preventing truck-borne terror

    By John Blaxland

    The Christmas market truck assault in Berlin, which has left twelve dead and dozens injured, is a disturbing echo of the truck-borne attack on Bastille Day celebrants on the Nice promenade in July. How could such events be allowed to happen? Why weren’t intelligence agencies in Germany and France able to stay one step ahead of the perpetrators? The role of the security and intelligence agencies to remain vigilant and seek to monitor extremist elements will undoubtedly endure. The secret of their success will continue to be keeping their successes secret. However, this does not absolve the rest of society from remaining engaged in community, by being inclusive, welcoming, and helpful, while also maintaining a level of vigilance many had come to associate with a bygone era.

  • Law enforcement1,900 arrest-related deaths in U.S. between June 2015-May 2016: Study

    The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Arrest-Related Deaths program estimates that there were 1,900 arrest-related deaths in the United States between June 2015-May 2016. These deaths include all persons who died during the process of arrest or while in police custody, including deaths due to homicide, justifiable homicide by a law enforcement officer, suicide, accidental injury, and natural causes.

  • GunsA license to print: how real is the risk posed by 3D printed guns?

    By Thomas Birtchnell

    3D printed guns are back in the news after Queensland Police reported last week that they had discovered a 3D printer in a raid on what appeared to be a “large-scale” weapons production facility as a part of Operation Oscar Quantum. But the fact is that 3D printing technology is not yet at the stage where it can readily produce weapons. Although it can be used to help rogue gunsmiths work their shady trade. And we should remember that it’s not only 3D printing that enables people to build illicit firearms. With the right tools, a skilled gunsmith can make a weapon in their back shed. However, 3D printing can make that process easier and more accessible to less skilled individuals.

  • ForensicsIt is time to stop using bite marks in forensics: Experts

    Forensic dentists claim that they can accurately associate a bite mark to the one and only set of teeth in the world that could have produced the crime scene bite mark. There is, however, no sound basis for believing that forensic dentists can do such a thing, and researchers are increasingly skeptical about the validity of bite-mark identification as trial evidence.

  • Law enforcementPolice say they lack powers to probe phone involvement in crashes

    Four out of five collision investigators surveyed for the research indicated mobile phone involvement in non-fatal accidents was under-reported, with half agreeing the role of phones was even overlooked in fatal crashes. Police officers are worried they lack the right powers and resources properly to investigate whether a mobile phone was being used by a driver at the time of a crash, a new study has found.

  • Crime in MexicoNumber of Americans kidnapped, killed in Mexico increases

    The number of U.S. citizens kidnapped in Mexico each year is uncertain due to false reporting and underreporting, but in 2014 the FBI investigated at least 199 kidnappings of U.S. citizens in Mexico, a substantial increase from twenty-six kidnappings in 2006. The number of U.S. citizens reported to the Department of State as murdered in Mexico was 100 in 2014 and 103 in 2015.For the family of Norma Magallanes Benitez, a U.S. citizen who was kidnapped on 21 October 2016 while visiting her family ranch in the municipality of Luvianos, Mexico State, these figures are not dry statistics.

  • TerrorismExtreme-right terrorism threat growing: U.K. police

    Neil Basu, deputy assistant commissioner to the U.K. national coordinator for counter-terrorism policing, has said police fear the threat of far-right violence is growing and poses a similar danger to communities as other forms of extremism. “Over the past twelve months, there have been indications that the threat from [the] extreme right wing could be increasing and we are alive to this,” he said. Figures release by the police show that concerns over potential extreme rightwing radicalization led to a 73.5 percent increase in referrals to the counter-radicalization program Prevent last year, compared with the previous twelve months.

  • GunsStronger gun laws linked to decreased firearm homicides

    Stronger firearm laws are associated with reductions in firearm homicide rates, concludes a study which reviewed all available articles published in peer-reviewed journals from January 1970 to August 2016 that focused specifically on the connection between firearm homicide and firearm laws. Specifically, the laws that seemed to have the most effect were those that strengthened background checks and those that required a permit to purchase a firearm. Laws that banned assault weapons, improved child safety, or aimed to limit firearm trafficking had no clear effect on firearm homicide rates. Laws that aimed to restrict guns in public places had mixed results.

  • Border securityMost border arrests by Texas troopers are not for drug smuggling

    By Josh Hinkle

    Officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) have recorded 31,786 law violations along the Texas-Mexico border from late June 2014 through September 2016. Just 6 percent of the offenses were felony drug possession by “high-threat criminals,” or HTC — the criminals troopers were largely sent to stop. The other HTC priority is supposed to be human smugglers, but they made up just 1 percent of offenses. DPS has added more troopers to the border under the assumed objective that they are going after drug and human smugglers — but a close examination shows that most of their arrests are for drunk driving and misdemeanor drug possession.